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Resume writing tips

Applying for jobs can often be a long and tedious process. We’ve brainstormed a few ways to help make a great first impression and improve your chances of landing an interview.

Use the following suggestions to help write a professional resume that demonstrates your skills, qualifications and experience.

Tailor your resume to the job ad

Highlight the specific skills you have that match the key requirements listed in the job description. Yes, that means you’ll be adjusting your resume for each new application…

Recruiters can be swamped with applications, tailoring your resume means that you will stand out with a quick scan of your resume or in keyword searches. 

Keep it short

Remember less is more. Provide detail about your current or recent jobs and include less about your past, or less relevant roles. Try to keep your resume down to one or two pages.

If you’re applying for a role that’s a little different from your skillset it can be worthwhile including a brief objective summary to add context to your application. Otherwise, get straight to the point.

Your cover letter is your opportunity to share more information and show your interest in the role. Having a passion for the causes the organisation works with is highly regarded (particularly in the not for profit sector). Use your cover letter to let them know how you would be a good culture fit.

Take out unnecessary information

Keep your personal details to a minimum. Name, phone, email and a suburb or postcode instead of your full address will be enough. 

Only include hobbies if they are relevant to the role. If you’re applying for a youth worker role they would probably be happy to know you’re a scout leader. Whereas sharing your fondness for binge watching Netflix is something you can save for the tearoom.

Unless specified in the job advertisement, supply references only upon request. This is often the final step in the recruitment process, you generally won’t have to supply details until after an interview. This also means you can give your referees a heads up that they will be receiving a call. An unprepared reference can be awkward and reflect poorly on you.

Keep it clear and uncluttered

Make it easy to read and use bullet points. Use a spell check to fix errors and have a friend read over it to make sure it reads well before submitting. A big recruiter pet peeve is incorrect spelling and sloppy grammar, particularly if you’ve included “great attention to detail” as one of your skills.

Be professional

It can be worth your while setting up a new email address for your job applications. That quirky email address you set up back in high school may cause prejudice in certain HR circles.

Last but not least, follow the employer's submission requirements if they ask you to address a selection criteria. Let us repeat that — address the selection criteria! With other applicants not bothering to make the extra effort, you’ll be top of the list from the get go.

Happy job seeking!

Next up, the job interview... Click here for interview tips.